Monday, November 28, 2011

Scenery Base with Colored Sculptamold

Dunes Junction off the brackets and on to the sawhorses. Masking tape protects the weathered and detailed track
This book, by the way,
is a treasure trove of
scenery building information. 
The next stage of Dunes Junction scenery construction: a colored terrain base.  I applied colored Sculptamold over the styrofoam terrain forms after masking off the track and bridge abutments and pier.

I used the Sculptamold coloration technique described in Dave Frary's How to Build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery (3rd Edition).

I mixed one part Benjamin Moore Sedona Brown matte latex paint to three parts water, and then used that to mix with an equal amount of dry Sculptamold, which is a surprisingly fluffy material.

I applied the colored Sculptamold with a rubber spatula--the work went really fast.  It 'set' in a couple of hours and was completely dry within two or three days.  Raw Sculptamold reportedly sets much more quickly and completely dries within a day or so.
A view from the northeast. The variations in color correspond
to the dryness of the Sculptamold.

The latex paint will make future appearances in scenery construction. Frary's technique--repeated often in various Kalmbach scenery how-to books and articles--makes use of earth-colored flat latex as an adhesive and coloration.  One of the features of good scenery is continuity of color and use of a limited palette of colors, and using the same base color across a variety of steps helps to ensure this continuity.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Model Railroad Hobbyist Honcho on Model Railroad Magazines and Future

Joe Fugate, big
honcho of online
magazine Model
Railroad Hobbyist
Over at the publisher's blog at Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine, Joe Fugate, pioneer of internet-based model railroading media, is using fact-based reality--presented via statistics and graphs--to prognosticate about our hobby's future.  The upshot is that old-media paper model railroad magazines are declining in circulation while online venues, like Joe's own MRH, are growing in readership.  Based on this, he sees a much brighter--but different--future than what you might hear about in model railroading communities, both real and virtual:
The decline in the paper magazines begs the question - is the hobby shrinking? We don't think so. We've seen some hobby vendor surveys that suggest the hobby is actually growing slowly ... and Reuters has been reporting that the sales of train sets at Christmas time have been on the rise since 2005.
Spend any time amongst model railroaders--either in 'meat space' (hobby shops, swap meets, clubs, etc.) or in 'cyber space' (yahoo lists, various bulletin boards, podcasts, etc.) and the lamentations about the decline of model railroading will quickly rise to the surface. Lower circulation of Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman, along with the demise of various second-tier magazines like Mainline Modeler and Railmodel Journal, are cited as signs that the hobby is fading.

Go read my comment on Joe's blog.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Roughing in styrofoam scenery

Looking to the west. Track is masked to keep glue and styrofoam chips away.
With the overpass done, I've masked off the track and started roughing in scenery.  Various chunks of styrofoam have been shaped and carved with a Woodland Scenics hot wire foam cutter.  I used the DAP clear glue (leftover from track work) to attach it to the layout.

The green foam came from a local craft store; it's neither beadboard nor extruded foam.  If I were building a larger layout I certainly wouldn't use it--that pink extruded stuff is much easier to work with, and cheaper. But the green block was the right amount of material at the right price.

Mineral Springs Road and the Dunes Junction flagstop foundations are cut from Woodland Scenics 1/4" styrofoam sheet.  The mockups provided the measurements.

Mineral Springs Road and Dunes Junction flagstop. There's a little hump
an inch or so before the backdrop.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Painting the Overpass

The almost final step for the overpass is paint.  Everything got a thorough coat of Floquil Grimy Black followed by a coat of Floquil Concrete for the concrete parts and Tamiya Field Gray (it's what I had on hand) for the steel parts.
Major overpass components painted.
The final-final step will be weathering via washes and drybrushing.  I am waiting for the paint to really set and for the actual scenery to take shape so that the weathering reflects a consistent visual theme.
The overpass from track level or so.
Another view of the overpass.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Road Crossing and Flagstop Placement Options

With the highway overpass nearing completion, I'm thinking about scenery at the other end of the layout, where the Dunes Junction flag stop will be placed at the Mineral Springs Road crossing.

Previously, my mockups had Mineral Springs Road crossing the main at a right angle, but I wanted to have a look at how a more oblique crossing might look.
Mineral Springs Road with a 90-degree crossing of the main line.  The
Dunes Junction flag stop is behind the Little Joe.
The highway overpass crosses the tracks at a 90-degree angle, so I thought I would try for some visual variety with a slanted or oblique crossing. Because I could easily print and cut more road and parking lot elements, I tried variations on the oblique crossing concept before committing to actual scenery.
The road crossing from left in the foreground to right in the back-
ground. Note the mocked-up parking lot.

Another view of the road oriented toward the right.
I preferred the road that slants to the left.  I think it will let me fill the right edge of the layout with a treeline to distract from the dropoff.

The leftward slanted road appealed more to my eye. That area behind and to the right of the flagstop parking lot
will have a treeline and and a modest rise to help disguise the edge of the layout.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More Progress on the Highway Overpass

The overpass model in progress next to the mock-up.  Railings/jersey barriers are in front of the model--they will be
attached after painting.
One-lane highway overpass deck under
construction, top view. Top surface
is roadway material from the Rix
highway overpass kit.
More progress on the overpass at the west end of Dunes Junction. I used a Rix modern highway overpass kit and various Plastruct and Evergreen styrene stock and shapes, plus some other oddments from my vast collection of hardware. Heavy, durable construction is the objective. I used Tenax styrene cement and Super Jet extensively. To fill cracks and seams, I used Super Jet with accelerator, which is fast--no waiting for putty to dry, and it doesn't shrink as much over time.
Overpass deck, bottom view.  Plastruct 3/8" channels with Evergreen .080"
and .25"x.25" stryrene bracing. Sturdy! GRRR!
Abutment with alignment hole,

That's a finishing nail glued into a hole to align
with  abutment.
Pier bearing detail (Evergreen
.040"x.060" strip) and align-
ment peg sunk into the
.25"x.25" bar stock.
The peg is a piece of big
ol' paper clip.

Pier mounted to a rectangle of .040"
styrene. The top horizontal member
has been shortened and plugged with sheet
styrene. Note hole on top for alignment peg.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Free Kalmbach Download: Modeling Electrified Railroads - Model Railroader Magazine

Here's a free treat from Kalmbach: a digital download of articles on traction and electric modeling.  The focus is inevitably on the trolley pole variety of electrics, but it's a great place to start from the very nice folks who publish Model Railroader magazine.

Modeling electrified railroads - Model Railroader Magazine (Registration Required - Free)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

South Shore Passenger Shelter Papercraft Mock-up

Download a pdf of this cut-n-fold
flagstop passenger shelter
When I'm away from the layout because of travel, I sometimes bring the model railroading with me.

My latest away projects have been focused on my mock-up strategy of making low-cost, low-fi, and quick representations of structures and scenic features for the Dunes Junction layout.

I recently finished laying out an HO papercraft model of a South Shore flagstop passenger shelter using Adobe PhotoShop.  My starting point for the project was a drawing from the June 1981 Railroad Model Craftsman, which I scanned, redrew, and colored.

Click here and then click File>Download Original to download this pdf and print it at 100% for a cut-n-fold papercraft flagstop passenger shelter of your own in O, S, HO, or N scale.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

From Mockup to Model: Beefy Highway Overpass Abutment

A model abutment . . .
. . . starting from this mockup
A couple of weeks ago, I made a mockup of a of the highway overpass at the west end of Dunes Junction. I liked how the mockup looked--its general dimensions and proportions seem to work, so I used it to begin work on an actual highway bridge model.

Bruce Petty showed how he built a highway overpass with styrene sheet and Rix Products highway overpass components in the September 2011 Model Railroader, and my model is drawing on Bruce's techniques.
.040" styrene sheet on the top and
 ends, .080" sheet on the outerwall

1/4" square styrene bracing--
stiff and strong. Grrr!
I did make some key changes to how Bruce built his abutment.  Bruce fabricated his abutments with .030" styrene and Plastruct structural shapes for bracing.  I opted to use heavier materials for extra strength and durability. The outer wall of my abutment is .080" styrene; the ends and top surface is .040" styrene.

To really add some beefy bulkiness to my abutment, I added bracing with 1/4" square styrene strip.  The abutment is quite solid and heavy as a result. This sucker will not warp or even flex.

Next steps: filling and finishing edges of the abutment and preparation for painting. Then the actual span and a support pier.  Stay tuned for more.